Bullying is bad. I should know.
You probably think I’m about to go into a story from my childhood about how I was bullied in school. Well, I could. But I’m not going to. You see, while it’s true I was bullied in school there were also times when I was the one doing the bullying.
Being both the bully and the bullied can certainly give one a sense of how bad bullying is. Perhaps that’s why a couple of articles I read recently have been so gratifying.
Using Power Rightly & Wrongly
First, Amy Julia Becker wrote about one person’s gracious and constructive response to a public display of insensitivity by a very powerful person toward those who are often marginalized and bullied. It’s not so much that the initial comment was an act of bullying, but the aftermath. I had no idea so many people would try to justify using words that hurt. Amy Julia did a great job explaining (for those who haven’t yet gotten the memo) that intentionally hurting someone is not OK.
Then I read about Chy Johnson. She’s a teen age girl who started high school this year. If that weren’t hard enough, Chy is also a person with a brain disorder. This made her easy to pick on, and she was bullied from the start. Chy’s mother knew only one other student at school so she called him to see if she could learn who was doing this to her daughter. She called the right guy.
Carson Jones is a senior, strikingly handsome, and the quarterback of the football team. When he got the call from Chy’s mom he did something better than hand over a few names. He started spending time with Chy. He introduced his teammates to her as well. Now the players eat lunch with Chy, they walk her to class, and the word has gotten out that bullying Chy is not OK.
Carson is quoted as saying, “They’re not bullying her anymore because they’ve seen her with us or something,” while another senior, Tucker Workman, explains, “It feels good to know that we helped someone else, because you know, we’re doing good, everything for us is going well, but someone else needs to feel good, too.”
Jesus and Bullies
The bullying Jesus confronted in the Bible was at times quite subtle and at others quite blatant, yet in each case we see his consistent love quite plainly. He is gentle with the woman dragged before him and charged of adultery. He is gentle with the Pharisee who sneers at the prostitute who bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears. Jesus does not ignore bullying, but he addresses it in ways that show the love of God to all around him.
Jesus does the same for us. He advocates for us in our weakness. (1 John 2:1.) He gave us the Holy Spirit, the advocate who is with each of us always. (John 16:7-11.) And not even the biggest bully of all, Satan, can speak against us:
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:34.)
I am grateful for people like Carson and Tucker and their teammates who will intercede on behalf of a young girl. I am grateful for people like Amy Julia who will write so powerfully and intercede for those who are easily marginalized.
Even more so, I am grateful that we have an eternal Protector who intercedes for us. Thank you, Jesus.